Week in Views - What caught our eyes in the last seven days

The Pocketgamer.biz team take their pick of this weeks big news, including a major milestone for hybridcasual, the Candy Crush crown and when digital giants have a change of heart…

Week in Views - What caught our eyes in the last seven days

The games industry moves quickly and while stories may come and go there are some that we just can't let go of…

So, to give those particularly thorny topics a further going over we've created a weekly digest where the members of the PocketGamer.biz team share their thoughts and go that little bit deeper on some of the more interesting things that have happened in mobile gaming in the past week.

Daniel Griffiths Editor - PocketGamer.biz Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.

Crunch time for ByteDance's gaming ambitions

What are they playing at? Actually, scratch that. It’s easy to spot what they’re playing at and it’s the exact same old short-term, rug-pulling, back-tracking that has confounded gamers and right-thinking fans of entertainment brands for decades.

“Why don’t they just do [insert obvious money-spinning fanboy request here]!?”

There used to be a time when plans were carefully thought out. Things were made real, or released into the world only when the time was right. Being ‘cool’ or ‘uncool’ actually mattered. It was possible to ‘sell out’. Or ‘look stupid’. Or ‘appear to not know what you were doing’. Now - in the age of the ‘pivot’ - changing your mind like a doofus and bolting off in the opposite direction at the merest whiff of a change in climate, is regarded as some kind of badge of honour.

“Ah, they’ve completely backtracked and wasted billions… Hmm… They must know something we don’t…”

But this is change for change’s sake. This is the need to ‘appear to be doing something new and different’ above any actual benefit that that change might reap. It’s kissing goodbye to the easy money in the pursuit of looking like your holding aces somewhere else.

And it’s frankly annoying.

Planning your next big move? Do check out the excellent article above and get a grip, eh?

Craig Chapple Head of Content Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at PocketGamer.biz, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.

Hybridcasual conquers the $2 billion mark in 2023

I’m fascinated by publishers eyeing up the ‘hybridcasual’ space. For years following the launch of Habby’s Archero, what looked set to become a new genre had faded into obscurity - a one-hit wonder.

But then Apple dealt a critical blow to hypercasual (and the rest of the industry) with ATT. Suddenly, hybridcasual was one of the hottest topics again. Struggling in a new marketing landscape that has made advertising and UA much more challenging - to say the least - publishers began jumping aboard the hype train. Hypercasual specialists, from Kwalee and Homa to SayGames and Voodoo, all launched hybridcasual games and divisions. Some even abandoned hypercasual completely. I wrote an in-depth piece on the trend for Deconstructor of Fun earlier this year, labelling the move a gamble.

So is it working out? Well… maybe? Hybridcasual game revenue (player spending only) has hit $2.1 billion so far this year, according to Sensor Tower, having generated $1.6 billion in 2022. It’s a positive rise for publishers in the space, but they are arguably going to need a lot more to combat high UA costs and lost ad revenue. I’m curious where these publishers will be a year from now - assuming Apple continues to make conditions worse for mobile.

Paige Cook Deputy Editor Paige is the Deputy Editor on PG.biz who, in the past, has worked in games journalism covering new releases, reviews and news. Coming from a multimedia background, she has dabbled in video editing, photography, graphic and web design! If she's not writing about the games industry, she can probably be found working through her ever-growing game backlog or buried in a good book.

Candy Crush to lose its crown in 2024? But overall mobile game revenues will be up

This report covers the expected rise of AI and which gaming genre revenues are on the up in 2024. But the part I want to touch on is that longtime reigning King, Candy Crush, may finally be knocked off the top spot in 2024. Frankly, it’s impressive that it’s held the crown for as long as it has, and it isn’t even another game that may steal said crown but TikTok.

However, don’t expect that to knock King’s momentum in 2024. We have already seen the soft launch of Candy Crush 3D and various other games, such as Candy Crush Solitaire and Rebel Riders. So, is that top spot gone forever? Or can lightning strike twice?

Given the mass popularity of TikTok, I think it’s unlikely, but I am intrigued to see if these titles one day end up on the teased app store from Microsoft in an attempt to compete with both Apple and Google.

Aaron Astle News Editor Aaron is the News Editor at PG.biz and has an honours degree in Creative Writing. Having spent far too many hours playing Pokémon, he's now on a quest to be the very best like no one ever was...at putting words in the right order.

Nintendo pulls out the stops for Fire Emblem Heroes' billion-dollar future

A major update to Nintendo’s most lucrative mobile game with Version 8.0 is already a noteworthy accomplishment this week, but add onto that almost seven years of history and you also have Nintendo’s longest-running mobile game that’s still adding ANY new content…

That mobile game is Fire Emblem Heroes, which also happens to be part of my favourite game franchise, and also ALSO happens to be my most-played mobile game of all time… So of course it’s my pick for this week! The biggest update of 2023 has just been released with a whole new story, Book 8, focused around the new protagonist Ratatoskr and set against the backdrop of Yggdrasil, the World Tree.

The inspirations from Norse mythology are deeply rooted beyond just Yggdrasil, with Ratatoskr shown racing down it just like the Nordic squirrel of the same name; it suggests the mythological inspirations will continue on through Book 8 after prior appearances from Fire Emblem’s interpretations of Loki, Thórr, Nerþuz and more.

The update has also brought in a new game mode and a batch of new characters from the 3DS era’s Fire Emblem Awakening, with fan-favourites Lucina, Severa and Inigo among them. Between all the new heroes to collect, the story to play through and a heap of celebratory quests to complete, I know what I’ll be playing this weekend…